How to apply gel nail polish at home

how to apply gel nail polish at home Pink Gellac tropical

This post may contain affiliate links, PR samples or sponsored content, please see disclaimer page in menu.

I recently reviewed a gel polish starter kit over on my nail blog, Hellznails and several people commented that gel polish is something they’d like to do themselves but that they didn’t know how SO I thought todays post would be brilliant to explain the “how to” in more detail. 

The first thing to do is chose your products, I used the Pink Gellac kit. You need to make sure you use the full system, don’t use a base coat from one brand and a colour or topcoat from another. Whilst the first kit is quite expensive as you need to buy the lamp etc. compared to the average price of £20 for your nails doing just once in a nail salon it is really cost-effective to do them yourself.

Preparation is the most important step in doing your own nails successfully! Make sure you don’t need the toilet, you’ve got a drink to hand and that you have everything out and set up within reach before you start.

Firstly use an orange stick or metal cuticle pusher to push back your cuticles and remove any dead skin from around your nail. Once you have done that lightly buff over your nail and file them into shape. Next scrub your nails with the cleanser that will come with a kit, this is really important to remove any dust or grease and it will dehydrate your nail. Only wipe the nails just before you do them, so one hand at a time.



Next you need to apply the base coat. Wipe as much off the polish brush as possible as you need to apply gel polishes in very, very thin layers. Leave a 1-2mm gap around the nail (it won’t feel nice if gel polish sets onto your skin!) Once the base coat is on pop your hand into the lamp and cure for the amount of time stated in the instructions with your kit.


Next is the colour, again apply this as thinly as possible and leave a gap around the edge of your nails. You will need to do at least 2-3 coats of colour and cure it under the lamp in between each coat.


Lastly is the topcoat, this again needs to be applied as thinly as possible with a gap around the edges. Once the thin layer of topcoat is on, pop your hands into the lamp again to set that.


Some topcoats leave a sticky layer over the top of your nails after they have been under the lamp which will need wiping off with the cleanser (check the instruction in your kit though before wiping them) the kit I used didn’t so once my hand came out of the lamp they were finished 🙂

how to apply gel nail polish at home Pink Gellac tropical



  • I rest on a silicone mat (for baking) when I’m doing my nails as any spills can be wiped up easily.
  • When painting with the gel, wipe as much off the brushes as possible, there will still be enough to paint each nail and it won’t be too thick then.
  • Some lamps don’t have a timer so have your phones stopwatch handy if yours doesn’t.
  • If you paint too close / over your cuticle or side of the nail run an orange stick (or even an earbud) around it, it will pick the excess up. It is much easier to sort it out before it has set in the lamp.
  • When painting each layer pull the brush down over the edge of your nail, painting the edge will help it to stay on longer.
  • I always paint in this order – four fingers, four fingers and then both thumbs together. It stops any accidental knocks whilst nails are wet…..and it’s almost impossible to twist your hand so that all 4 fingers and a thumb are inside the lamp!
  • Always always wear rubber gloves when washing up or cleaning, the chemicals will make your gel polish come off quicker.


Similar Posts:

0 comments on “How to apply gel nail polish at home

  1. I would love to have this kit, I do love nice nails and am very lucky to have good nails, great post as I have never tried gel nail polish at home before x

  2. It looks stunning. 🙂 I’m so bad at doing my nails. Maybe first and foremost cause I tend to bite them sometimes… I normally do my nails more in the summer than in the winter, so maybe I should let them grow. Great tips for getting great nails though. 🙂

  3. Great guide. If you could just product a guide for my daughters on how not to leave nail polish laying around the house, that’d be great lol

  4. That’s a total convenience! 😊 I can experiment more with my taste of color like how much I like yours.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *